I completely disagree on Skills. I truly love the new skill design for all classes. It takes a lot more thought to create so many skills/runes, most of which are fun. And as noted by so many and as Blizzard had intended, no 2 persons are using the same build.
Ok yea the combat is better.
The skill system is....lazy. They couldn't properly balance the skills so they just threw the idea out the window and gave you everything. There are clear build winners with every cast, and the skills are "weaker"? D2 skills felt powerful, they felt like they made a difference, D3 skills feel like they were toned down and broken so that you had to use 7 skills.
In D2, the skill tree was in essense a lazy attempt at leveling. +1 skill point = +5% dmg, that's lazy design today but ground breaking in 2000. Part of the reason people quit after normal in D2 was because leveling was boring if you didn't buy into the farming for gear concept. Saving skill points up to dump them into specific ones is not great design.
In D3, many more players are leveling to 60 cos it seems like it's part of the game. Also, getting new runes is fun. While it's true that some runes are lackluster, some are totally awesome and change the spell completely. Is every single rune awesome? No. But with 100+ runes per class, that's to be expected. So too is tying dmg to gear instead of char level, no one wants to manually balance 500+ skills and items as well.
From Hydra's to Time Stop, 7 sided strike to firebomb, Plague of toads to Rapid fire. there are some very unique skills I've never seen before. Each class is fun to play. Name one other game with this wealth and variety of skills. I love going to inferno and trying out a different set of skills just to see if it is viable.
Best part of it is you can switch up and use whichever skill you want without needing to reroll a new character.
And proof is in the pudding. Even in inferno, most players I've seen use different builds.
Story, wow..um they pretty much threw a ton of what happened in D1-D2 out and said this is what really happened. Then they gave us a ton of loose ends and questions that they most likely are never going to tie up. Id say the story was 1 of the weakest parts of the game, it felt very childish. Your guy was essentially a god, there was no losing in any scenario beside Cain, which wow...really? That is how Cain dies? Gotta be shitting me, to a no named random ass butterfly, may as well of just off'ed him in D1 if that was his fate.
Got news for you Diablo2 Classic had no end game either and difficulity levels even in Hell were a joke. If you think comparing a 12 year old game with 1 expansion and over 13 patches vs a 1 month old game is fair then... I can't say anything.
End game...as of right now, there is no end game. No PvP, inferno is sad. Just because they are going to "fix" the problems, doesn't make it good. D2 had a better end game, with PvP at release, a real itemization, a real level limit, real goals. Not some fake difficulty that is really cheap mechanics in disguise.
Itemization in D2 Classic was crap too. Also, D2 had the same cheap mechanics in disguise, or did you forget elites that could be immune to up to 2 damage types.
I am not blind to D3's short comings. There are to my mind 4 glaring issues with D3. 3 being addressed and 1 hopefully in the future
(1) Stats on Legendary/Set items
(2) Lower level not dropping upgrade items
(2) Crazy Spike dmg in Inferno
(3) Only a few item Affixes are sought after for each class
As for the end game, I'm fully plan to level every character to 60. And wonder of wonders, I actually think I can create a hardcore character and get him past Nightmare, which is on my to do list, whereas in D2 it was kind of pointless to me.
And all this will hopefully last me till the expansion. (with 8 million sold, an expansion is 100% confirmed). Where I hope lessons learnt will result in more than just an inferno mode for the end game.